Homemade PC Water Cooling

Written by steven s. warren
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Homemade PC Water Cooling
(Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

PCs can be quite noisy. Most of the noise comes from the various cooling fans inside the PC. One way to reduce the noise is to use water cooling instead of fan cooling because a quiet water pump can efficiently remove more heat than one or more noisy fans. Water cooling kits for PCs can be quite expensive, so why not have some fun with creating your own homemade solution?

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • CPU heat sink
  • Quiet submersible water pump
  • Plastic tubing (hospital type or similar) & connectors
  • Copper coiled tube (like the one used in refrigerators)
  • Drill
  • Epoxy resin glue
  • Silicone sealant (or similar flexible water resistant sealant)
  • Glass jar (big enough to contain the submersible pump with good clearance, and small enough to fit inside your PC)
  • Distilled water
  • A few long (12 inches or so) nylon tie wraps (you can join them to make them longer if necessary)

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  1. 1

    Modify the CPU heat sink: Take the fan off the heat sink. Drill two holes into the solid body part of the heat sink so that the holes meet inside the block. This will be the water channel that will cool the block. Use epoxy resin to glue a tube connector into each hole (making sure the glue does not run into the hole; else it may later restrict the water flow).

  2. 2

    Make the water tank: Make three holes in the lid of the glass jar --- two for the tubing to go in and out, and one for the electrical cable of the submersible pump. Fit tubing to the water outlet of the pump and place the pump inside the jar. Pass the water outlet tube and the pump electrical cable through the holes in the jar lid. Fill the jar with distilled water and fit the lid. Put another piece of tubing into the third hole in the lid; this will be the water return tube. Using epoxy resin or silicone sealant, seal the tubes and electrical cable to the lid so that the lid is watertight.

  3. 3

    Prepare the radiator: A copper coiled tube (like one from a refrigerator) will make a good radiator for getting rid of the heat; the coil provides a large surface area for the heat to dissipate into the air away from the CPU. Connect the water pump outlet tube to one of the CPU heat sink tube connectors. Connect a third piece of tubing from the other connector of the CPU heat sink to one end of the copper coil. Complete the water circuit by connecting the other end of the copper coil to the water tank return tube.

  4. 4

    Use epoxy resin or silicone sealant to make sure all tube connections are watertight. Make sure the surfaces are clean before applying the glue or sealant to ensure a good seal.

  5. 5

    Position the water tank jar securely inside the PC (such as by using nylon tie wraps to secure it to the PC chassis). Secure the radiator to a suitable part of the PC chassis with a nylon tie wrap. Make sure the copper radiator cannot come in contact with the circuit boards, such as the motherboard or RAM cards.

  6. 6

    Connect the water pump electrical cable to a power supply.

Tips and warnings

  • Choose the quietest water pump you can find!
  • You can make the water pump switch on and off automatically with the PC by using a relay that is triggered from one of the spare 12-volt power connectors inside the PC.
  • You can extend the water circuit to include other fan-cooled components within your PC, making it even quieter.
  • Shut off power to your PC before opening the case.
  • Use static protection to avoid damage to the PC while working.
  • Water and electricity are a dangerous combination, so make sure you are safe when connecting the pump.
  • Make sure that no water can leak when the pump runs.

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